A Different look at Disney...

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Yes, it has been a while. And yes, sometimes it takes that long to gather and confirm things for you. Thanks as always for your patience.

Summer is underway and so far things look promising for both Disneyland and DCA this season, or at least promising once they finally get those new monorails up and running. But go beyond the surface in a few key areas around Anaheim and you'll find some people increasingly worried about the direction Anaheim is headed, at least in the short term. In this update we'll fill you in on all the latest gossip around Disneyland, and why things aren't going as well as they should be for folks up WDI's Glendale offices.

Got that Jamba Juice unbagged yet? Have that PowerBar unwrapped by now? Well then let's get going with the update today shall we? - Al

It's Midway Mania...

Let's begin by wrapping up the coverage on DCA's newest attraction, Midway Mania. Or, if you are one of the stubborn creative types in Marketing, Toy Story Mania! The ride itself has been operating daily for about a month now, playing host to tens of thousands of Cast Members and Imagineers, their families, and most recently Annual Passholders and regular DCA day visitors.

Thus far WDI is thrilled with both the formal and informal feedback they've been receiving from all of the preview riders. This was never meant to be an E Ticket, but rather a solid D Ticket, and in that role it seems to be living up to the goals set out for it by its designers and budget. Also thrilled thus far is Anaheim's Operations and Maintenance departments, as the preview phase of the attraction opening has showed that the ride system and technology used is surprisingly reliable. Certainly there have been some minor technical issues to work through with the 3-D screens and the interactive effects. But the ride system itself is proving to be an operator's dream, and headaches and troubles have been few and far between, which is a great sign at this early stage.

I am tater, hear me roar

As the hand selected crew of Attractions CM's learn the ropes and get the hang of operating the ride, they're now able to pull in 1,000 per hour counts and keep the line consistently shuffling past Mr. Potato Head. Luckily for those CM's, the Anaheim executive team resisted the urge to add in a Fastpass line, which makes the overall operation of the ride much simpler and easier to deal with. The executives out in WDW weren't as savvy however, as they've saddled the Florida version with Fastpass and a Single Rider Line. Since that decision was made midway through the design phase, the queue in Florida is not nearly as straightforward as Anaheim's and approximately 70% of riders in Florida won't be seeing the ground-breaking Mr. Potato Head animatronic that's off to the side inside the Florida queue.

While the D Ticket attraction is a nice addition for the park, the designs of the facility itself and the surrounding redevelopment are a peek at the future of DCA. WDI took full advantage of the budget to dramatically retheme the original stucco and cement look of Paradise Pier. This is clearly not something former resort honchos Paul Pressler or Cynthia Harriss would have approved, and DCA is better for it.


While WDI poured their hearts into theming the new Toy Story ride buildings to the max, there is also some evidence that perhaps WDI over-thinks some things they put into the parks.

Permanacer sentados por favor

Take for example the "Don Tomas" snack bar built across the boardwalk from the new ride. Believe it or not, there is an elaborate backstory to this snack shack that involves a Hispanic family of entrepreneurs who set up shop selling turkey legs on the pier a century ago. The name "Don Tomas" is quite literally a Spanish form of "Mr. Tom", as in Tom Turkey. The stand was also decorated with pictures of this mythical Tomas family, with period accessories placed throughout.

Don Tomas roughly translates to Mr. Tom, selling turkey legs. Get it? It's okay if you didn't make that connection, as WDI really didn't explain that backstory to anyone in Anaheim either. The poor Cast Members staffing the cart never received this communication from the designers and have no clue what the name Don Tomas means, or what their supposed role is in this little tale, except to sell turkey legs and Cokes to tourists.

Imagineers love to say that the magic is in the details, but sometimes they can be far too obscure to matter much.

Where's Feliciano when you need him?
You'll see more and more Spanish language merchandise too.

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2008 Al Lutz

A Different look at Disney...
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